Minister Kiuru: Parliamentary consensus safeguards future of Finnish Broadcasting Company
16 December - Chairs of parliamentary groups and Minister of Housing and Communications Ms Krista Kiuru reached an agreement on the funding of public service operations of YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and on the company's guidance and supervision.
'It is a remarkable result that all political parliamentary groups gave their support to the reform. This highlights that the Finnish Broadcasting Company operates under the supervision of Parliament. Efforts have been made to reach an agreement during two terms of government, and working out a solution was not an easy process. I would like to thank the Chairs of parliamentary groups for their excellent cooperation in the intense negotiations that have been going on during the entire autumn', Ms Kiuru says.
'For citizens, the reform ensures that YLE's broadcasting continues in its present form, providing us all with a diverse range of programmes and regional content', Ms Kiuru says.
From 2013 onwards, YLE's public service broadcasting is to be funded from the Budget. A new 'YLE tax', a public broadcasting tax linked to a person's earned income and capital income, will be introduced to this effect. The tax is less than 0.7 per cent of a person's income. In euros, this means a minimum of EUR 50 and a maximum of EUR 140 per year, depending on the level of income. Minors and those remaining under a certain income level will not be subject to the tax.
According to Minister Kiuru, the finance model now agreed is socially equitable and, as compared to the media fee system planned earlier, a lot more reasonable solution for people on low income.
'There are a million people living alone in Finland, and for them, the YLE tax will be half the amount of the current TV fee. On average, the fee will go down by EUR 80-90 compared to the present system,' Ms Kiuru says.
A two-threshold system will be set up for businesses: they will pay some EUR 317 or EUR 634 in YLE tax, depending on their turnover.
In 2013, the financing for YLE's public service broadcasting will stand at a level of EUR 500 million including taxes. The sum will be reviewed each year to correspond to the index-based annual rise in the cost level.
Ms Kiuru stresses that in 2012 television fees continue to be collected from the households in accordance with the current system, as required by law.
The guidance and supervision of YLE will be supplemented through regulation concerning a prior evaluation of significant new services. Responsibility for the preparation of issues that relate to the prior evaluation process and that are to be discussed at the Council of the Finnish Broadcasting Company will rest with a public servant working in conjunction with the Transport and Communications Committee.
In addition, Parliament will be given increased opportunities to gain information on the implementation of the public service along with its guidance and supervision.
The public service mission of YLE will also be updated.
A government resolution will be issued on the basis of the YLE-related changes now agreed on. The associated legislative amendments will be implemented in spring 2012.
Mr Juhapekka Ristola, Director-General, tel. +358 400 788 530,
Ms Elina Normo, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 40 765 7887